Up until about six years ago life insurance companies that would approve someone who admitted smoking pot, approved them at the same smoking rates that applied to cigarette smokers. There wasn’t a lot of underwriting logic to that decision other than pot was illegal, but common, so they figured that the significantly higher smoking rates would scare the business off. For the most part they succeeded in avoiding writing much marijuana use business.
Then came recreational use legalization in Colorado and Washington and since there has been something of a snowball effect with other states joining the legalization move. With that, some life insurance companies have decided to loosen up on the smoking status and allow non smoking rates, albeit, under fairly strict criteria. An interesting aside is that users of cannabis have had a much easier go of it than people who work in or own legal cannabis businesses. So, how does life insurance for marijuana smokers work now?
How do they know you use marijuana?
We’ve managed to get eight life insurance companies to put some pretty specific marijuana underwriting guidelines in writing. There are two ways for life insurance companies to know that you use pot. Some companies test for THC as part of their lab panel when you do an exam, so positive THC speaks for itself. The other way is your answer to drug use on the application. This is a good time to consider how two different occurrences look to a life insurance underwriter.
- If you answer no to drug use on the application but test positive for THC, you’ve been caught in a lie. Historically underwriters aren’t anxious to give you the best rates they have at their disposal if you lie. An outcome in this case might be that the underwriter will approve you at smoking rates, when answering yes might have put you on track for non smoking rates. If you are forthcoming on the drug use questionnaire they will ask you to complete, you might get some slack. If I put myself in that position I would complete the questionnaire and write a letter of apology for the incorrect answer on the application and have my agent provide both to the company.
- If you answer yes to drug use the underwriter will ask for a drug use questionnaire where you provide details of how often you eat or smoke cannabis. They will take those answers along with your positive or negative THC test.
How much can I use and get non smoking rates?
I really can’t go into any more detail than to say that if you are a daily marijuana smoker, no life insurance companies love you. The reason I can’t get specific is that could be construed as coaching you to the right answer on your questionnaire. If you were to take that coaching to heart you might put down that you use a lot less than you really do. That would be a fraudulent answer and fraud is contestable.
Bottom line. The best way to figure this out is for you to call or email me directly and let’s have an honest discussion about your use. I can then match that with the best possible company for the best possible rates. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.